The film is set in 1942, when the British Raj was declining. It was a time when many Indians were either working for the British or rallying in underground meetings and protests against them. In this atmosphere, Naren Singh (Anil Kapoor) falls in love with Rajeshwari "Rajjo" Pathak (Manisha Koirala). Their romance is shown developing in spite of the political and social unrest of the time.Naren's father, Diwan Hari Singh (Manohar Singh), is a loyal British employee, while Rajjo's father Raghuvir Pathak (Anupam Kher) is a revolutionary fighting against British rule. When Naren asks Raghuvir for Rajjo's hand in marriage, Raghuvir gets livid. Naren declares that he is willing to sacrifice everything for Rajjo, and convinces Raghuvir of his love for her. Pathak relents and tells Naren to talk to his father. When Naren does so, Hari Singh is angry that his son has chosen Rajjo, the daughter of a revolutionary, but pretends that he will do anything for Naren's happiness.Singh tricks Naren into revealing his father's secret location, and leaks the information to the British authorities. Soon, police barge into Pathak's hide away and try to kill him, only to find him waiting to light a bomb. Rajjo, who was out at that time, realizes what has happened and runs away. She is taken into refuge by Shubhankar (Jackie Shroff), a compatriot of Pathak, who has learned of his death. Under Shubhankar's tutelage, Rajjo follows her father's revolutionary path. Meanwhile, Naren is angry with his father for being used to kill Pathak and driving Raijo from him. Promising to make up with Raijo and help her cause, he pledges to become a protester or revolutionary, even if it means opposing his father.